3 San Jose police suspects arrested after 3-month-old baby was kidnapped from his grandmother’s home 2022-04-27 14:40:00


SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose police have released the names of the three suspects arrested in the kidnapping of 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar. They were identified as 28-year-old Jose Roman Portillo, 43-year-old Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, and 37-year-old Paldomio Sandoval, all of whom are San Jose residents.

According to the police, the investigation revealed that the suspect who entered the San Jose home and kidnapped Brandon, who was seen in a surveillance video with a baby carrier, is Portillo.

During the investigation, investigators learned that prior to the kidnapping, Ramirez had run errands with the victim and the victim’s grandmother. With Ramirez’s statement changed several times, investigators held her as a VIP.

Sandoval has been identified as another suspect and has also been interviewed. Based on their statements and evidence obtained during the investigation, investigators arrested Ramirez and Sandoval.

Brandon was found safely Tuesday morning, after a 20-hour search ended miles from his grandmother’s home, where he was kidnapped.

The girl’s grandmother told police that she was unloading groceries when the child was taken from the apartment on Elm Street.

Extensive research included the FBI. The police were looking for a man seen in the surveillance video and it was a tip that finally brought Brandon home.

It was just over 1pm on Monday when Brandon was reported missing.

Seeking help from the public on Monday evening, police released surveillance footage showing a man with a baby carrier, casually walking along Elm Street. And in an exclusive clip shared with ABC7 News, the timestamps reveal the same man then left, just five minutes later.

“Right then and there, I thought this was the man,” said neighbor Mark Ars.

Arce’s surveillance camera gave one glimpse into the kidnapping, and was useful in the police investigation.

“You could just tell, when he was walking toward the house or apartment, the light was on,” Arce described. “And when he made it walk backwards, it seemed like there was some weight on it.”

The kidnapping led to an extensive search for the child who was implicated by the FBI.

“There is still a lot for investigators to do,” SJPD Assist. The police chief told reporters on Tuesday. “So I don’t want to give out any information that could, you know, derail this investigation.”

Thanks in large part to a nursing home employee whose facility is directly across the street from the house where Brandon was found.

“One of my employees working here felt a little suspicious and saw something out of his nature,” said Chris Martinez, the facility’s director of operations. His employee wished to remain anonymous and did not wish to speak to reporters.

What she saw was a silver 2011 Nissan Quest truck with a distinctive sticker on the rear window. At about 4:50 a.m., the California Highway Patrol posted a tweet on a photo, description, and license plate of the truck.

This tweet was later deleted when San Jose police told KGO-TV that they could not confirm the CHP information. The reason for the disconnection between the two agencies is still unknown. But the tweet was long enough to show the vehicle’s information, which prompted the employee to notice the truck.

Martinez was there after that employee called the police and saw what happened.

“(She) saw that something was a little out of place. She saw the car, and made a call to San Jose PD,” Martinez said, “and then the San Jose Police Department showed up and they went straight and blocked the front and back and drove to the suspect’s house. Allegedly, at that moment they went and broke into the house.”

Maria Alvarado, who has a three-month-old baby girl, says she lives below the house that the police raided. In Spanish, she said, she was shocked to hear so much noise outside her home and police officers. Disbelief that the missing 3-month-old was so close.

On Monday morning at the scene, at least five officers in suits were seen and said the San Jose Police Gang unit was carrying evidence from that home. The police did not explain why the special team was there.

They say one of the three detained suspects is the man seen in this surveillance video. A woman who was with the child’s grandmother before he was kidnapped was also arrested.

Police say an initial investigation shows a link between the family and the suspects. They say to investigate what happened and how the child spent the last 20 hours straight.

The College Park neighborhood on Elm Street remained essentially flat on Monday night after detectives and police left the apartment where 3-month-old Brandon was kidnapped.

On Tuesday morning, neighbors woke up to the much-needed good news that young Brandon had been found safe.

“As soon as I heard the baby had been found, I just cried,” said neighbor Stephanie.

“We were up all night talking how did that happen, Twitter update, everything right?” Neighbor Cassandra Ramirez said. “So this morning was just a run on the news and it was good news. I shiver when talking about it. I feel uplifted and definitely confused with a lot of emotion and happiness.”

Knowing that it was very easy to kidnap the child, he sent fear to the neighbor Stephanie, the neighbor who did not want to appear in front of the camera.

“When we found out it was a three-month-old kidnapping, I just, I can’t imagine,” Stephanie said. “My heart synced, and the anxiety became. I couldn’t take my mind off of it. I went to dinner, I still couldn’t get out of my mind because there was a missing child.”

From sadness and fear to excitement and comfort as the neighbors were thrilled to hear about the baby’s return with his family again.

Neighbor Leandra Doran said: “I felt so relieved to the mother and family, it was scary but happy that he was found safely in such a short amount of time too.”

“Welcome home, dear Brandon!” Ramirez said.

Other neighbors are still trying to understand the kidnapping, which they say appears to be targeted.

“When they said a baby was taken, it was really hard for me. Because I have so many grandchildren and so many great grandchildren,” said the family’s downstairs neighbor who asked to be identified only by the name of Elva.

She added that every aspect of the case made her emotional.

“Who could come into your house with a small baby cot to hold this baby?” Elva asked, “Who could be so bold? Who could be so ugly?”

On Tuesday, Brandon was safe with his family who told police they wanted their privacy and did not speak at this time.

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